Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 1 May 2003 keynote speaker at national and interstate conferences. Sarah has also utilised her considerable writing abilities by publishing a number of newspaper articles and writing a play which was performed during National Youth Week. The personal diary Sarah kept while suffering depression herself, is soon to be published. Mr Deputy Speaker, that night was a wonderful night. The talents and abilities of our young Territorians from Central Australia inspired me and all who were there. We are, indeed, fortunate as a community to have such wonderful talents here. More importantly, perhaps, these young people have chosen to devote their abilities so wholeheartedly to the community, environmental and civic wellbeing. My congratulations to them and to all nominees, finalists and winners. Mr MILLS (Blain): Mr Deputy Speaker, at the outset, being my last opportunity to contribute during this sittings, I also pass on my appreciation to all of those members of the staff of the Legislative Assembly who have made possible what is truly an historic event, which I am privileged to be part of. Not only the staff of the Assembly, but also the staff o f this fine centre. I have been immensely impressed by the professionalism, the thoroughness of the service that we have received behind the scenes here in this resort centre. So, my congratulations to Bill Coffey and to his staff. The Arafura Games occur in the Top End of our Territory but does have, in a sense, a Central Australian context in that there is, I understand, a soccer team planning to attend a tournament at the same time that the Arafura Games were going to be held. I understand the need and support the decision to cancel the Arafura Games. The SARS issue is one that is further directing our attention to the seriousness of this and, in the light of the overloads o f international security concerns and the impost upon us as a jurisdiction to manage the cost of security as well as the medical issues, it is fully accepted. However, to make the announcement to the community that the Arafura Games have been cancelled, I understand, is a difficult and correct decision. However, it does not end there. The Arafura Games are held every second year, and I would suggest that, in a time of a cancellation of a sporting event, the effort needs to be doubled in terms of managing that which is left as a residue of a cancellation of a sporting event. There has been a reference made not to worry, it will all be okay with regard to the volunteer organisations behind the scenes. However, there is a pronounced degree of unhappiness in the sporting organisations. There is a need for clear leadership and direction, and a clear sense that they are being supported in this time. It is easy to manage, in a time when we have the template sitting over it in the traditional form of the games as it is normally being held. We are now looking at a situation where there are sports who are required to continue their tournaments because, for example, in the triathlon, there are competitors who are competing in that from around the country who are required to attend this event in order to accrue championship points. So, the pressure is upon the Darwin Triathlon Association to run the event. They are obligated to do so; they want to keep the chain going. They are not receiving competitors from SARS-affected regions. The basketball community is also obligated to continue the event. There are a number of competitors coming from the United States. In a time such as this, we need even stronger and clearer direction, and a greater sense of what is what - what kind of support are these volunteers going to receive? When it comes down to a few days, or a few weeks remaining for the start of the games, the issue of medals is still being discussed. There is uncertainty. In fact, I am led to believe that there has been a direction given by the department to the sporting organisations who are trying to patch together a tournament o f sorts, that they are not able to use the medals that have already been cast for the event. That does not leave very much time for anyone who has been involved in a sporting event, unsure in changing circumstances o f how many competitors you are actually going to have now, to now try to cobble together some kind o f order to be able to get the medals there in time. That is one of the difficulties we do have in the Northern Territory; we do need a lead-in time. It strikes me as unhelpful to the extreme to have messages which can only be interpreted by sporting organisations as practically unhelpful. I call on the minister to please send a very clear and urgent message o f real support to these volunteers who are keeping the Arafura Games alive, in a sense. If we are going to talk, as the Chief Minister spoke of, bigger and better in 2005, it is absolutely critical that this particular juncture is properly managed and looked after, because the weight is falling upon volunteers. It is well and good to say to the wider community, with the volunteers actually listening to this grand announcement: Do not worry, everything will be all right. The volunteers, the sporting organisations will be looked after. The rest of the community probably think that that is fine, isnt that a nice government looking after the volunteers. Well, the volunteers have not had, in their judgment, any practical support at this point and they need a clearer focus. 4003